Skateboarding has always been about the creativity and originality of each individual.
The best skateboarders don’t follow any one style or trend; instead, they push limits with their own identities to make it something different every time around.
From Tony Hawk’s contribution as an industry leader over 17 years in professional skateboarding competition to other up-and-coming talents like Nyjah Huston who is making waves across all disciplines due to his unapologetic approach—skating remains vibrant because there are so many creative individuals out on these boards.
It’s inspiring to see that women are finally taking their rightful place in the skateboarding world along with men. With so many talented female skaters out there, don’t forget to check them all out.
1- Tony Hawk
Tony Hawk is one of the most well-known skateboarders in history. His nickname, “Birdman,” says it all about his achievements – he has Falcon flown to new heights throughout this career.
Tony brought a sport that was previously unknown and made its way onto popular culture with his videos game series where you can play as him or any other pro skater including Kevin Reynolds (Saint Nick), Carey Hart (Sugar Ray) amongst others; there are over 600 locations around world who have their own version right now thanks largely because Tony hawk had something so special for people everywhere when they need fun outdoors but also exercise at the same time despite being indoors during winter months.
Tony Hawk is a well-known and respected professional skateboarder. He has been skating for over 20 years, during which he’s won awards including favorite male athlete; beating out many popular nominees in the process.
Tony’s achievements don’t stop there though – The Tony hawk Foundation provides funding towards building new skateparks across America as well giving millions of others access to safe places where they can enjoy this fun sport.
2- Jay Adams
Jay Adams is the raw symbol of professional skateboarding.
As one Z-boy to enter a pro contest in 1975, he placed second and immediately was celebrated for his low-to ground style that left competitors doing handstands or kickturn tricks while air sliding off course with no regard for himself whatsoever – just like many other skaters who would come after him.
Skating came at an outlet from what could have been quite possibly something chaotic had it not become gnarly yet beautiful through this man’s passion and so too does the all too familiar story.
3- Mark “The Gonz” Gonzales
Mark Gonz has been a staple of the skating world for decades. He was one of its first true street skaters, grinding kinked handrails and hitting spots that would have boggled past generations’ minds if they had seen them before time began.
Though his contributions on his own board cannot be understated as well: Mark served as an inspiration to countless kids who wanted more than just trickshots with little else going into it – so much so in fact he’s now known simply by name rather than title at this point.
Gonz continues to show us how skating should be done. He teaches you not only skateboard tricks, but also trick riding and the importance of individuality in a world where everyone wants something different from us.
Ledge-grabbing (and other) transitions will never go out style as long as Gonz keeps doing what he does: teaching people about dedication and having fun on your own terms.
4- Rodney Mullen
Rodney Mullen is the Godfather of Street Skating boarding, and he perfected every trick. Rodney’s largest contribution as a professional skateboarder could easily be his impressive record-setting 34 out 35 wins in freestyle competitions-no one has ever come close to beating that mark.
However what makes him even more legendary than all these accomplishments? His mind for innovation.
All tricks are built upon an innovative mind whether it be coming up with new slide tech or creating impossible ollie nose manuals on ramps much wider than they should have been able to due solely from inspiration alone without any external input at all.
The ollie was not invented by any one person, but it’s clear to see that Rodney Mullen was the champion of taking this move and producing some incredible flip tricks.
His pioneering vision helped skateboarding come so far in just a few decades – there are plenty who would argue why after him comes his name when talking about top Tony Hawk competitors like Gary Hill or Steve Caballero.
5- Rob Dyrdek
Rob Dyrdek catapulted professional contest skating to its greatest heights with Street League Skateboarding. SLS has gone on to build skateparks all over the world and seen purses of $250,000–something Dogtown skaters would never have imagined! In a world where retired pros largely without higher education find themselves as real estate agents or small business owners (as is often true), Rob raised their potential by having him host television shows like “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” and “Ridiculousness.”
6- Bob Burnquist
Bob Burnquist is one of the most iconic figures in skateboarding. Not only did he create what many believe to be its greatest obstacles, but Bob himself crowns it with his skillset and unique style that has never been seen before or since on video.
The Mega Ramp requires an extremely tall board for those 70+ ft rolls; there’s also liability waiver paperwork as well as helicopter filming duties if you want your part edited onto this masterpiece by professionals who are barely enough even able complete these feats themselves- let alone any others doing tricks off their boards at full speed while facing up against blind 180 degree turns across two rail gaps over sand dunes filled with 2 feet.
7- Elissa Steamer
Elissa Steamer is the go-to for anyone looking to add a little more spice into their life. She’s been one of skateboarding’s most iconic figures, inspiring countless people around the world with her raw street skating skills and feminist beliefs that have helped revitalize feminism in recent years. One couldn’t mention female contributions without including Elissas’ name at this point.
8- Chad Muska
Chad Muska is one of the most iconic skateboarders in history and his signature backpack still resonates with generations. Born into poverty, he made himself a household name as an innovator who helped create the 90s golden era for skaters fortunate enough to witness it all first-hand.
However humble beginnings did not stop him from pursuing what mattered most: ultimately achieving success through hard work which led him up hills both literal and metaphorical over time until finally reaching California where Maple Skateboards became sponsors when they appeared on screen during 1994 video “Rites O Passage”.
9- Bam Margera
Bam Margera has been a household name for years now, and it’s hard to believe that before he was just another professional skateboarder.
In an interview with the 9 Club podcast about his early career in which they discuss how much money Bam made from board sales at one point when interviewed by them alone while still only 23-years old led him into becoming more well known than ever before thanks to Hollywood fame on top of being successful within CKY Entertainment who also produced Jackass movies among other projects aside from music releases under merchandising himself as someone worth watching out for all this time ago.
10- Ryan Sheckler
Ryan Sheckler’s career is a true testament to both skateboarding culture and history.
At 14, he won his first X-Games gold medal in 2003 – a feat which would quickly establish him as one of the most documented skaters ever seen on television or film throughout time for many years since then with countless TV appearances from ESPN’s worldwide coverage events including Dew Action Sports show “X Games”.
Ryan also became known around town simply by being nicknamed “Shecky Fans everywhere were captivated not only because they could relate but what this child prodigy had accomplished so early into his adulthood was unprecedented even though few adults realize up until now how young some elite NHL athletes actually started playing their sport professionally before going off.
11- Nyjah Huston
Nyjah started skating at age 4 and had a 5-hour practice session each day, where he went through his trick list every single one of them before moving on to learning new tricks. At 7 years old (when Element sponsored him), Nyjä’s early parts were very impressive.
One of the most exciting aspects about watching Nyjah Cruise is that he’s so versatile. Whether it be in street skating or contest skateboarding, you know what you’re going to get from him because his style has become iconic throughout all disciplines; not an easy feat considering how many different styles there are within these two specific genres.
He also continues putting out incredible videos no matter which one type(s)are dominating at any given time, not surprisingly either-you’re guaranteed jaw-dropping tricks without ever feeling let down for even a second by this amazing skater.
Nyjah has been a successful skateboarder for many years, and he’s not going to stop anytime soon. He is the current champion of SLS with six 1st place finishes in five seasons; 12 X-Games medals including 5 golds (5 World Skateboarding Championship), two silver(Dew Tour) & three bronzes (X Games).
His achievements aren’t limited at home either–Nyjah also placed second overall during his tenure on Dew tour twice which means that this talented athlete isn’t just content behind bars but pushing himself even harder than ever before.
12- Jason Lee
Jason Lee is no stranger to the camera. He started his career in acting, but he also pursued a successful skateboarding lifestyle that helped pave the way for many other roles.
Jason Lee was doing backside flips and kickflips before many sponsored pro skaters had landed them consistently. He teamed up with Mark Gonzalez in the 90s, which resulted in one of skateboarding’s most classic videos “Video Days.”
After that, Lee founded Blue Skateboards with Chris Pastras which eventually became Stereo Skateboards in 1992. Jason still likes to shred the streets to this day though not as a professional.
13- Stacy Peralta
Imagine becoming the top-ranked, number one professional skateboarder and part owner of your own company before turning 21. That’s exactly what makes Stacy Peralta another great skater in history.
The Z- Boys Peralta joined forces with George Powell to form Powell-Peralta, ultimately adding to his success as the brand grew. He created the Bones Brigade team which brought together several other notable names in modern skateboarding who transformed what we know today.
Peralta’s contribution to skateboarding includes his 1984 Bones Brigade Video Show, which is the first video of its kind. While many will continue watching these videos for pleasure alone they are also incredible instructional tools that can teach you how to do tricks like no other.
The new technology would revolutionize the way skateboarders observe and experiment with their own techniques.
14- Tony Alva
Tony Alva is widely regarded as the father of modern skateboarding. Not only did he invent frontside air and create vert skating, but Tony also helped design Vans’ first Skateboard shoe with Zephyr Team in 1972 – one that would later be known worldwide for its popularity among young skaters everywhere (and not solely confined to pools).
Alva started the first skater owned and operated skate company, Alva Skates which ground some people’s gear. This company was one of this country’s early adopters for making decks out Canadian Maple Plywood; they also played an integral role in breaking multiple world records including barrel jumping (a Guinness World Record). To date he still does what makes him happiest – skating through waves at dawn or playing music on stage while surfing aside
USSA World Invitational Skateboard Champion in 1975
Skateboarder Magazine’s readers poll’s Skater of the Year in in 1977
Create Guinness World Record for barrel jumping in 1977.
15- Ed Templeton
Toy Machine founder Ed Templeton is a newer addition to the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2016. His first influence came from watching Mark Gonzales and it didn’t take long before his fascination with skating would lead him into professional status at age 19 months after graduating high school.
Templeton is a skateboarding legend who has been recognized for his talent on the board and in art. He’s done it all: from competing at an elite level to creating graphics that make him one of America’s favorite artists, Templeton pushes himself each day with creativity as fuel—and we love seeing what happens next.
Despite being a well-known tech entrepreneur, he has also been successful in other industries such as finance.
16- Daewon Song
Daewon Song was born in South Korea, but grew up with American parents. He started skating when his dad left and mother got a new boyfriend – perhaps as an escape from the turmoil he experienced during childhood years? When 14-year old Daewon picked up his first board at school after it became clear this would be more than just fun for him; we can only imagine how much time went into perfecting those skills.
His love for skateboarding started out as a way to escape from the violence he witnessed growing up, but it soon became clear that there was more than just gang activity going on. His talents and skills impressed some big names in skating like Rodney Mullen who took him under his wing at an early age; Song has been featured by Tony Hawk’s video games as well as on tour with him — not too shabby considering how new this venture into professionalized streetwear is.
With a resume that includes countless competitions and tricks to his name, not one person can deny the impact Drake has made on skateboarding. His place in history was cemented at this year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony where he became just another member for an ever-growing list including other greats such as Tony Alva or Kareem Campbell
In light print: The Skateboarding Hall Of fame inductions have been going strong since 1965.
17- Leticia Bufoni
Leticia Bufoni is young and ambitious, with a spirit that will never be broken. At just 25 years old she has already achieved more than most people do in their entire lives- from being placed into the Guinness Book of World Records to winning an award at this year’s iSummit by GoPro for best female entrepreneur under 30.
But it’s not just her skill and prowess on the board that make Keaka one of this generation’s best – It’s also a strength, courage, or commitment to transforming women in skateboarding.
Though she wanted to tie Elissa Stearn’s record, it was more than just winning. Her competitive nature meant that Lizzie set out for victory and one gold win became two as they share a companionship like no other; unbeatable in any sport or competition (men’s included).
18- Danny Way
Two-time consecutive “Skater Of The Year” award winner, Danny Way is known for his huge airs and broke several world records doing what he loves. He was the first to drop into a vert from helicopter back in 2005; it’s not hard when you’re bad ass like that! And if all of this wasn’t enough already – check out those boards? Yeah there are only eight toes on each foot (no five).
Growing up in an alcoholic household, the abuse heaped on top of one another until it was too much to handle. His dad died before his first birthday which made him feel like there would never be anyone who loved or cared about him enough that they could help make things better for themselves and their family as well.
He was an 11-year old prodigy who won his first contest, the X Games gold medal in 2004. He broke world records and never lost to any other competitor until 2009 when he competed at “Big Air Rail Jam”.
Danny’s life is full of inspirational stories about how one can follow their passions no matter what others say or think – even if they are told not too long ago that it would be impossible due to different circumstances such as being born into poverty with little chances on success!
19- Bucky Lasek
He’s one of the most dominant skaters in X Games history, with 20 total medals. He started his career when vert skating became part of it all though he began competing professionally earlier than that. He has dominated skateboarding since 1990 after being noticed by Powell-Peralta.
Lasek is a star player who has been able to remain consistent in his performances over the course of 30 plus years. He’s accomplished everything from singles events all the way up through doubles and mixed teams, making him one-of-a-kind on this stage.
Though it might seem like a long shot, he competed in the 2018 X-Games at 40 years of age. He can still land tricks that nobody else does and has created multiple part videos for Thrasher Magazine under his Buck It List title with ease.
Every day, you’ll find him skating in a bowl that he’s built in his backyard. If retirement is what you want to do with it then having your own backyard bowls are pretty good way of ending an impressive career.
20- Chris Cole
Chris Cole is an example of someone who has found success by understanding the power of networking and following their own path. He started skateboarding when it wasn’t popular, but through hard work was able to top all his previous records with even more tricks than before.
When Chris found out that Cole’s favorite phrase was “live rad and die proud,” he knew what needed to be done. He created a personal doctrine for him, one where skateboarding isn’t just about nailing your next trick — it’s also creativity and drive behind the technique; taking pride in how much you’ve grown as an artist on two wheels by setting down some pipes.
Skaters call him “The King of New York,” and in the last 20 years he has been a professional skateboarder for Nike Skateboarding. He’s won more awards than there’s room on this page to list them all- Cole still practices every day with intense attention given his technique which can be observed through each trophy or title awarded by Thrasher magazine since 2005 when they named him their “Skater Of The Year”.
You can find him teaching others through an onslaught of “how to” videos he’s recently created, and you will be able to upload your own video for comparison. Teaching is part of what keeps Cole very busy – not just his time on the board.
The skateboarding community is full of unique characters who have not only impacted the industry but changed others perceptions.
A good dose of creativity, resilience and problem solving skills are all essential for those interested in this sport which means there’s always more to explore.